Too Much Clutter
Recently hoarding has become much more high profile as it has featured on television in shows such as Britain’s Biggest Hoarders.
Hoarding is highly prevalent and affects up to 3million people in the UK alone.
The Mayo Clinic says that symptoms of hoarding are:
- Cluttered living spaces
- Inability to discard items
- Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines, or junk mail
- Moving items from one pile to another without discarding anything
- Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items, including trash
- Difficulty managing daily activities, procrastinating and trouble making decisions
- Difficulty organizing items
- Excessive attachment to possessions and discomfort letting others touch or borrow possessions
But what causes someone to become a hoarder? Hoarding can sometimes be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); but is by no means always so. According to the Mayo Clinic, at this time there is not clear what exactly causes hoarding. There are, however, some commonalities among hoarders.
Age: While severe hoarding is most common in middle-aged adults around the age of 50, their hoarding tendencies began around ages 11 to 15. During these early teenage years, they typically saved broken toys, outdated school papers, and pencil nubs.
Personality: Oftentimes hoarders struggle with severe indecisiveness and anxiety.
Genetics: Although hoarding is not an entirely genetic disorder, there is some genetic predisposition involved in the disorder.
Trauma: Many hoarders experienced a stressful or traumatic event that propels them to hoard has a coping mechanism.
Social Isolation: Hoarders are often socially withdrawn and isolated, causing them to hoard as a way to find comfort.
It is worth noting that whilst some hoarders have good insight into the problems caused by their behaviour, others are completely convinced that their situation is not problematic, despite evidence to the contrary. These sufferers are often reluctant to seek help for their problems, causing great distress to family members. Sometimes, when possessions and clutter spill over to communal areas, e.g. front and back gardens, neighbours may be affected too and councils may be forced to intervene. Often a conversation with the family GP can result in counselling support.
There are several websites and contact numbers that may be of benefit to hoarders and their families.
www.helpforhoarders.co.uk and www.hoardinguk.org
Hoarding UK also has a telephone helpline 020 3239 1600 open 10:00am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.
Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton also offers practical services such as a decluttering and deep clean service for when things have become way out of hand and a more routine cleaning service just to maintain good order. Call us on 01704 503356 for more information.